Why Body and Blood?

Why body and blood?

Why not elbow and knee? Why not neck and nose? 

Why two items? Why not one or more than two?

Jesus's choice of body and blood was not accidental.

There is a connection between his body and his blood. What is the connection?  The wounds we opened with lash, thorns, nails and spear connect his body to his blood.  

His bloody wounds are the mouth of God. They speak to us. The language uttered through the mouth of God consists of that which passed through them and that which did not.  By that which passed through them and that which did not, God revealed his identity to us. Only by that which passed through his bloody wounds and that which did not, do we get a fair and accurate representation of God - a high fidelity, first class representation of God far superior to any representation of God made by human hands. In that passed through his bloody wounds and that which did not, the mouth of God gave us his autobiography. God poured more and better theology into his bloody wounds than into the heads of every apologist, theologian, Doctor of the Church, apostle, monk, abbot, mystic, priest, monsignor, bishop, Cardinal, Pope, hermit and saint who has ever lived or will ever live. Buckets of blood poured through the bloody wounds we opened in his body. On this cataract of blood, his very life itself was carried from his body. Yet, not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed the buckets of blood through the wounds. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung with the iron grip of the drowning man tossed into the stormy sea after his ship is sunk.

His bloody wounds have two sides: 1) a near side and 2) a far side. 

On the near side of his bloody wounds is his ignominious defeat. On the near side is found the Crucifixion. Unlike the mighty God of the Jews who freed his people from the Egyptians, this puny god of the new Testament failed to free his people from the Romans. The Romans defeated him. He was a loser. The Romans impaled him on  a cross like a worm on a hook.

The connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is his bloody wounds. As we pierced his body with bloody wounds, we pierced the veil between heaven and earth. The bloody wounds are a telescope through which we catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth. When we look at them, we see the test into which we baptized him. When we look through them, we see the results of the test. The results of the test are the good news of great joy. Given the difficulty of the test, the results are very good news for us indeed.

On the far side of his bloody wounds is his glorious victory. On the far side of his bloody wounds is the Resurrection. The tyrant against whom the Son of God descended from heaven to earth to do battle was neither the Romans nor the Egyptians. The Son of God did not come to free us from either of these two tyrants. He had a bigger fish to fry. He came to free us from a far worse tyrant who has the power to transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. This evil tyrant is within us. He instructs us, when our crosses try to bury us under their oppressive weight, to release our grip on love - to let love slip from our hearts. Without love, however, we lose any resemblance that we bear to God. Therefore, this natural human tendency must be denied. Only by denying ourselves, can we pick up and carry our crosses as we make progress through the valley of tears. Only love gives us the strength to do so.

We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead sill alive and sill in love with us.

That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is omnipotent. Nobody emerges alive from the dead. He did.

That he did not stop loving us, however, is the proof that our conception of divinity as omnipotence is incomplete. Divinity is more than omnipotence. Divinity is also love.

The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. 

The Crucifixion, Resurrection and the connection between them constitute the Autobiography of God. The Autobiography was not written in words but was done in deeds. What do we learn from reading God's autobiography?  We learn that the evil we did to him did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart or reduce it by even the slightest degree.

In fact, God is head over heels in love with us. 

We get a sense of the magnitude of his love for us by the price he paid to produce the Crucifixion. He paid the price not from his unlimited divine resources. He paid the price from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else. 

We get a sense of the duration of his love for us from its indestructibility. His love for us ought to have faded as we tortured him and ought to have died when we killed him. But it did not. His love for us survived. Its survival is the proof that the duration of his love for us is forever.

That the evil we did to him did not adversely affect his love for us tells us without any ambiguity whatsoever that nothing can.

His love for us is the rock on which we can build our faith.

Therefore,  when you behold the most Holy Eucharist, do not just say, 'Look, there is the Son of God'. This misses the point by a mile. When you behold the most Holy Eucharist, joyously exclaim, 'Look, there is the Son of God and he carries his bloody wounds with him.' In the bloody wounds is the meaning of everything

.A Jesus without his bloody wounds is just omnipotence. Omnipotence is neutral - salt without its flavor (Matthew 5:13). Omnipotence demands respect nothing more. 

A Jesus with his bloody wounds is so much more. His bloody wounds are the visible tokens of his love for us. His love for us makes his omnipotence sweet. His love for us is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive.

Omnipotence demands respect. But, love demands love. 

P.S. God instituted the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist and not Eucharistic Adoration because he wanted the children of Adam and Eve to focus on the meaning of his bloody wounds and not merely on his real presence. In Eucharistic Adoration there is a risk of focusing on the real presence at the expense of focusing on his bloody wounds. The risk has been realized because the conversation ignores the bloody wounds. 

Married but Divorced Catholics

"Then the righteous[b] will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?" (Matthew 25:37). The divorced and remarried also hunger and thirst for the Lord. They, too, feel the tug of the Holy Spirit and, curious, they are following the tug back to its source. They, too, are on a quest to discover God. The Church has the means to satisfy their hunger and quench their thirst. Shall we let them starve and die of thirst? What kind of Church turns its back on the hungry and thirsty? (Matthew 12: 1-8)

Disconnecting the Results from the Test

"God loves us."

A true statement but insufficient. It presents a result of the test but leaves out the test. When we include the test, we can see how much God loves us. 

We stuffed Jesus into the black hole of death after torturing him. He emerged from the black hole of death still in love with us. Wow!

His love for us was put to the test of adversity. It did not fail the test. It passed the test. It survived. His love for us ought to have faded as we tortured him and ought to have died when we killed him. Surprisingly, it did not. His love for us survived the evil we did to him.

Therefore, always include the test when you state the results.

He continues to love us nonetheless even though we tortured and killed him.

He love us despite the evil we did to him.

The last two sentences state both the test and the result.

Insensitivity to Sin

How sensitive is the Son of God to our sins?

To evaluate the sensitivity of the Son of God to our sins, we must look both at the bloody wounds we opened in the body of Christ and through them. The bloody wounds have not one but two sides, a near side and a far side. The near side and the far side are connected together by the bloody wounds so that the story that unfolded on their near side can amplify the story that unfolded on their far side. The story that unfolded on their far side is a radical surprise on account of the story that unfolded on their near side. 

When we look at the near side of his bloody wounds, we see his ignominious defeat. We see that we tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. We see the sin of sins. What worse evil could we have done to him than torture and kill him while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth? However, his bloody wounds are not just evidence of the evil we did to him. His bloody wounds are a telescope. When we look through them to their far side, we see his glorious victory. We catch a glimpse of heaven from right here on earth. We see that his heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. Buckets of blood spilled through the bloody wounds we opened in the body of Christ but not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us spilled. Wow! The evil we did to him neither extinguished the love that burns for us in his most sacred heart nor reduced it by even the slightest degree. 

That the sin of sins did not have an impact on his love for us tells us in no uncertain terms that our lesser sins have no impact on his love for us.

The evil we did to him ought to have had an impact on his love for us.

The evil we did to him ought to have, at the very least, pissed him off. It ought to have antagonized him. It ought to have earned us a place on his shit list. It ought to have provoked his natural instinct for justice. It ought to have triggered his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution (Romans 12:19). It ought to have transformed him into our enemy - into a misanthropic monster - into the God who hates us. It ought to have shifted God from the pro-human team to the anti-human team with the serpent and his minions. When the fuse is lit, the bomb ordinarily explodes. But, remarkably, it did not. The fuse worked but the bomb was a dud (Isaiah 55:8-9). We gave him good cause to repay us in kind, but he did not (Romans 12:19). The evil we did to him did not extinguish his love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go.  God let us get away with murder - with deicide. Such is the nature of God! Wow! Our God is a beneficent philanthropist not a misanthropic monster. We tried but failed to drain his heart of love for us. This is the good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed. 

He is immune to our sins (Romans 5:8). 

There is a disconnect between our sins and his love for us. He did not put the dial of sin into our hands so we could control his love for us. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not in ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place.

To "control" our sins, He smothers our sins in his love. His love for us is the water. Our sins are the fire. The water smothers the fire and his love for us smothers our sins.

Jesus is our king. His palace is the Mass. His throne is the most Holy Eucharist. His kingdom is at hand. He is not the typical king and his kingdom is not the typical kingdom. He broke the mold for kingship. He is not the king who rules us. He is the king who loves us. In place of rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole, the means by which he governs us is love. In the kingdom of the king who loves us, the citizens govern themselves. We desire to please him. We trip all over ourselves in our eagerness to please him. Wow! Where do I sign up? How do I enlist? How do I join the kingdom of the King who loves sinners like me (Romans 5:8)

God is not like us. His ways our not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. .

The Two Tables

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,[a] “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”[b] He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” [Jesus] said to him, “Feed my sheep. .

Two tables are presented to us. One holds the meat and potatoes. The other is the snack table. It holds the candy, cake and sweets. There is no nutrition on the snack table. Feed off of it and you will hunger and thirst. Feed on the meat and potatoes table and your hunger shall be satisfied and your thirst slaked. 

The Sailor and the Storm

The Crucifixion is the story of a sailor who drowns and dies in a storm. At first blush, the Crucifixion appears to be a story of the sailor's ignominious defeat.  The storm defeated the sailor. it vanquished him.

The death of the sailor ought to have marked the end of the sailor's story but, surprisingly, it was not. There was another chapter to the sailor's story. 

The next chapter to the sailor's story is the Resurrection. Here we learn that our first impression is wrong. In the Resurrection, we see the sailor's glorious victory. Surprisingly, the sailor did not stay buried in Davy Jones's LockerThe sailor emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. 

The storm is an element of the story of the Crucifixion.

The sailor is an element of the story of the Crucifixion.

Which is more important? The storm or the sailor?

The answer is the sailor. The storm is merely the context into which the sailor is inserted so he can demonstrate his mettle (Click Here) (Psalm 66:10-12). The important question is 'How does the sailor cope with the storm?'.

In the case of Jesus, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung to the life preserver of love. He clung with the iron grip of a drowning man tossed into the sea after his ship has sunk. He did not surrender love to suffering. He resisted suffering. He fought back against it with the only weapon designed by God himself to oppose suffering, namely, love. Love is the grease for the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Love is the buffer between us and suffering. Love transforms us into superman who can pick up and carry our crosses of suffering so they do not bog us down in the valley of tears and, thereby, impede our progress to paradise. Love gives us wings with which to carry our burdens of suffering (Pope Benedict XVI). By loving our way through the valley of tears, we maintain the resemblance we bear to God. If we do not, suffering transmogrifies us into the most hideous and miserable of beasts. As we pass through the valley of tears, we can go god-like or beast-like. Which do you choose to resemble as you pass through the valley of tears?

Our sighs, mourning and weeping (Salve Regina) left our lips, reached God's ear and broke God's heart. In response to our suffering (not to our sins), God proposed that a philanthropic mission be mounted to address the problem of human suffering. The mission had two parts

  1. to transport the technology of applying love to suffering from heaven to earth and
  2. to demonstrate that the technology works by using it.

The Son of God volunteered for the mission. The first part of the mission was easy. the second part, however, was difficult - very, very difficult. To demonstrate that the technology works by using it required that the Son of God take flesh to become an equal to us in our humanity and a partner with us in our suffering. There was no other way to demonstrate the technology. To demonstrate that the technology works by using, he needed to pay the cost of the demonstration out of his own pocket not from his unlimited divine resources but from his own limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else.

He was the love note that God sent to us in the form of a new-born baby at Bethlehem. He was also the guarantee that the love note was genuine given to us in the diptych of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.  If the love note were counterfeit, his love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But, it did not. His love for us survived the evil baptism into which we immersed him.  The sailor drowned and died. However, surprisingly, he did not stay dead and did not stop loving us. He rose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. Wow!

Jesus coped with his cross to teach us how to cope with ours. He demonstrated for us the best way to cope with the suffering we experience as we pass through the valley of tears. 

"If a person bears great love in himself, this love gives him wings, as it were, and he can face all life’s troubles more easily because he carries in himself this great light; this is faith: being loved by God and letting oneself be loved by God in Jesus Christ. Letting oneself be loved in this way is the light that helps us to bear our daily burden." .

The Piñata

At Calvary, we hung a piñata from a tree, beat Him with sticks, broke open His fragile shell and exposed His most sacred heart for the world to see. Remarkably, it was still filled to the brim with love for us. Buckets of blood spilled through the wounds we opened in the body of the Son of God, but not a drop - not a drop - of His love for us. Our brutal cruelty toward Him revealed His tender and intransigent love for us.

Amplification

It is correct but inadequate to say that God love us. You do a disservice to God when you say that 'God loves us'. 

When he paid us a visit at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago, he painted a self-portrait that revealed his identity and the identity of God. The self-portrait is found in the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the bloody wounds we opened in his body that connect the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

In the self-portrait, brutal ugliness was juxtaposed against sublime beauty. We supplied the brutal ugliness. The Son of God supplied the sublime beauty. 

The contrast between our ugliness and His beauty highlights and emphasizes and intensifies and magnifies and amplifies and accentuates His beauty. If you leave out our brutal ugliness when you say that 'God loves us', you sacrifice the highlight, the emphasis, the intensification, the magnification, the amplification and the accentuation of his love for us. He did not just love us. He loved us even though we immersed him into a boiling cauldron of suffering. Now, that is love! Wow!

Therefore, never forget to include the amplifier. 'The Son of God loves us even though we tortured and killed him' is a superior articulation of God's love for us because it includes the amplifier.

A word to the wise is sufficient.

POINTS TO PONDER

Would you continue to love your torturers and killers nonetheless if they baptized you in a boiling cauldron of evil?

Many false, inaccurate and conflicting pictures of the nature of God circulate through the minds of the children of Adam and Eve. The multiplicity of pictures creates confusion. “This is God” some say as they point to their favorite picture of God. Others point to a different picture and say, “No, this is God.” The controversy goes on ad infinitum. Because of the confusion, the most Holy Trinity desired to set the record straight once and forever. They decided to clear the air. They decided to give us the gift of the definitive picture of the nature of God. Their representation of the nature of God can be thought of as a self-portrait or an autobiography. The fidelity of their representation to God is unmatched by any representation made by human hands. They gave us the definitive representation of the nature of God by combining the Crucifixion and the Resurrection and connecting them together by the bloody wounds we opened in his body

The Lesson of the Crucifixion

The Crucifixion is not an invitation from God to us to suffer. God is not a sadist. God is a philanthropist. The Crucifixion is an invitation from God to us to love. 

Run from the gospel of irrationality - from the sadomashochists who glorify suffering. Run fast and run far those who preach the doctrine of S&M. There is no glory in suffering. There is glory, however, in loving.

The Crucifixion is less about suffering and more about love. He mounted the Cross to teach us the best way to pass through suffering. He coped with his Cross to teach us how to cope with ours. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung with the iron grip of a drowning man who clings to a life preserver in a stormy sea after his ship has sunk. Cling as Jesus clung. Join the resistance. Resist suffering with love. From the Cross, Jesus demonstrated to us that the technology of applying love to suffering works. It is possible to resist suffering and love is the tool of resistance. Love is the elixir that turns us into superman able to pick up and carry the crosses that try to crush us under their weight. When we apply love to suffering, we are applying grease to the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. By loving our way through suffering, we maintain the resemblance that we bear to God. When we do not, suffering transmogrifies us into the most miserable and hideous of beasts. Love is the buffer between us and suffering. Suffering becomes redemptive when we love our way through it.

Nothing escapes from the black hole of death. Nothing. We dispatched him there. Yet, He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. Wow!

The Crucifixion cannot be understood without the Resurrection. The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are connected and the connection between them is the bloody wounds we opened in the body of Christ. When we look at the bloody wounds, we see the Crucifixion. We see the evil baptism into which we immersed him. We see his ignominious defeat. However, when we look through the bloody wounds as though the bloody wounds were a telescope, we catch a glimpse of paradise from here on earth. We see his glorious victory. We see that he emerged from the black hole of death still alive and still in love with us. The evil baptism into which we immersed him did not extinguish his love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree. We tried but failed to drain his heart of his love for us. Buckets of blood spilled through the wounds we opened in his body but not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us spilled. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. Wow!

Nothing escapes the dead. Nothing. With Jesus, Two Details of Divinity Did

Nothing escapes the black hole of death. Nothing. Yet, with Jesus, two details of divinity did. 

  1. He did not stay dead and
  2. He did not stop loving us.

These are the two details of divinity that escaped the black hole of death. These two details clarify the nature of Jesus. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us.

That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is God.

That he did not stop loving us revealed that our conception of divinity as omnipotence is not quite accurate. There is more to divinity than omnipotence. Divinity is omnipotence and divinity is love.

The evil we did to him did not imprison him in the black hole of death and did nor drain his heart of his love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree.

If his love for us were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But it did not. His love for us survived. Its survival is the proof that his love for us is real.

Who is God and how do we know it?  

In a diptych of two images, the Son of God gave us a self-portrait of himself. The two images are the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. They are bound together by the bloody wounds we opened in this body.  When we look at the bloody wounds we see the Crucifixion, the evil we did to him. We see his ignominious defeat. However,  when we look through the bloody wounds as we would look through a telescope, we see the Resurrection. We see his glorious victory. We see the two details of divinity that emerged from the black hole of death. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. Wow! 

Warning!

Two details of divinity, not one, escaped from the black hole of death into which we buried him. Many overlook the fact that he did not stop loving us. They focus solely on the fact that he did not stay dead. This narrow focus distorts our understanding of God. It contributes to the misconception that divinity is omnipotence and nothing more. It conveys only half of the picture. Only when both details of divinity are considered do we apprehend a fair and accurate representation of God.

The Autobiography of God

Jesus wrote his autobiography in two stories and in the connection between them. The connection is the bloody wounds we opened in his body with lash, thorns, nails and spear. The bloody wounds have two sides, a near side and a far side. The two stories unfolded on each of the two sides. The two stories are the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. His autobiography was not written in words but was done in deeds. In the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the bloody wounds that connect them, Jesus revealed the identity of God.

[Note: Worry less about our Catholic identity and more about the identity of God].

The Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the bloody wounds that connect them are essential to a perfect understanding of God. Leave one of the three elements of the autobiography out and your image of God will be distorted. The Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the bloody wounds that connect them provide us with a high fidelity representation of the nature of God. No representation made by human hands comes close to equal the fidelity of the representation of God given to us in his autobiography. All representations of God of lesser fidelity must, therefore, yield to the autobiography of God. In cases of conflict, go with the autobiography.

Let us review the autobiography.

When we look at the near side of his bloody wounds, we see the Crucifixion. In the Crucifixion, we see his ignominious defeat. The Crucifixion is the adversity into which we baptized him to test his genuineness (Matthew 4:7) (Luke 22:42). In the Crucifixion, we see that we tortured and killed him and that he suffered and died. We stuffed him into the black hole of death. Nobody and nothing escapes from the black hole of death. 

His bloody wounds, however, are not solely the evidence of the evil we did to him. His bloody wounds are also a telescope. When we look through them, we catch a glimpse of paradise from here on earth.

When we look through his bloody wounds to their far side, we see the Resurrection. In the Resurrection, we see his glorious victory. In the Resurrection are the byproducts of the evil baptism into which we immersed him - the results of the test. We see the escape from the black hole of death. We see that he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. These two details of divinity emerged from the dead. The results of the test are the proof that God put into our hands to extinguish our doubts:

  1. That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is omnipotent. Nobody emerges from the black hole of death. He did.
  2. That he did not stop loving us is the proof that our conception of God as omnipotence is inaccurate. Another detail defines divinity besides omnipotence. Divinity is love. 

The Crucifixion is an amplifier. The difficulty of the test magnifies the results. The Crucifixion highlights the two details of divinity that emerged from the black hole of death. Neither detail ought to have emerged. Yet, both did. This is a radically unexpected and surprising outcome. The evil we did to him ought to have, at the very least, pissed him off. It ought to have antagonized him. It ought to have earned us a place on his shit list. It ought to have provoked his natural instinct for justice. It ought to have triggered his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution (Romans 12:19). It ought to have transformed him into our enemy - into a misanthropic monster - into the God who hates us. It ought to have shifted God from the pro-human team to the anti-human team with the serpent and his minions. When the fuse is lit, the bomb ordinarily explodes. But, remarkably, it did not. The fuse worked but the bomb was a dud (Isaiah 55:8-9). We gave him good cause to repay us in kind, but he did not (Romans 12:19). The evil we did to him did not extinguish his love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree. Inexplicably, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go.  If his love for us were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured him and would have died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. Its survival is the guarantee that his love for us is real. Despite the evil we did to him he continues to love us nonetheless. God let us get away with murder - with deicide. Such is the nature of God! We tried but failed to drain his heart of love for us. Wow! This is the good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed.

His omnipotence made paradise. However, his love for us makes paradise sweet. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise (and flee the sourness of godlessness). It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise.

 

Let me summarize his autobiography. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and did not stop loving us. This is the autobiography of Jesus crystallized into just twenty-one (21) words.

In most representations of God, God is portrayed as a one-dimensional, cardboard cut-out. The only detail of God either expressed or implied is that diviniy is omnipotence. This is true but inadequate. There is another detail that is as important to us. God is love. This detail was made clear when the Son of God presented his autobiography to us.

Love that is tested in and survives adversity is real. His love for us was tested in and survived adversity. We baptized him in a boiling cauldron of evil. Yet,he emerged still alive and still in love with us. Wow! He continued to love us nonetheless. Despite the evil we did to him, he continued to love us nonetheless.

The Technology Jesus Transported from Heaven to Earth

The Application of Love to Suffering is the Technology that Jesus Transported from Heaven to Earth and Demonstrated by Using it Himelf so His High Degree of Confidence in it would become Our High Degree of Confidence in it
He Coped with His Cross to Teach us How to Cope with Ours.

Our passage through the valley of tears is not easy. Monsters of adversity haunt the valley of tears - monsters of illness, monsters of war, monsters of terrorism, monsters of injustice, monsters of poverty, monsters of ignorance, etc. Our encounters with them generate a great deal of painful friction. The friction produces a wild cacophony of sighs, mourning and weeping as we pass through the valley of tears . The din of our suffering, however, did not go unnoticed. It left our lips, reached God's ear and finally broke God's heart. Our suffering (not our sin) moved God with compassion.

In heaven, a technology had been discovered that facilitates the passage of flesh through suffering. It was a simple technology. It called for the application of love to suffering. Love is the salve that greases the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Love is the buffer between us and suffering. Love transforms us into superman. Love enables us to pick up and carry the monsters of adversity so they cannot crush us under their weight and cannot impede our journey through the valley of tears back to our home with God in paradise.

To address the problem of suffering, God the father proposed to mount a philanthropic mission from heaven to earth. God the Son agreed to execute it. The father gave the son two assignments:

  1. Transport from heaven to earth the technology that greases the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears.
  2. Demonstrate that the technology works by using it himself.

Transporting the technology from heaven to earth was easy. The love note from God to us was hand delivered to us at Bethlehem. Demonstrating that it works, however, was difficult - very, very difficult. The demonstration that the love note is genuine took place at Calvary. To demonstrate that the technology works required the Son of God to take flesh - to become an equal to us in our humanity and a partner with us in our suffering - and, while human, alive, tender and vulnerable, to pass through a baptism of suffering. No baptism; no demonstration. No demonstration and the second half of the philanthropic mission would fail. Despite the evil baptism that awaited him, the Son of God volunteered for the mission. He was not deterred. He had a high degree of confidence in the technology of applying love to suffering. He would cope with his cross to teach us how to cope with ours. The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands would put himself into the hands of the mud to teach the mud the best way to pass through suffering. If the love note were counterfeit, his love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. Its survival is the proof that the love note is genuine. Its survival is the proof that the technology works.

The technology does not allow us to dodge the monsters of adversity that haunt the valley of tears. We still pass through them as grist passes through a mill or as meat passes through a grinder. Passing through them, however, requires courage - a great deal of courage. Because Jesus had a high degree of confidence in the technology, he demonstrated that the technology works so we could likewise be confident in it. Our high degree of confidence in it is the source of our courage. God recommends that we love our way through the valley of tears because the primary beneficiary of doing so is ourselves. Many mistakenly think that the primary beneficiary of love is our neighbors. Not true. They are the secondary beneficiary of love. When we use the technology as we pass through the valley of tears, we preserve the resemblance that we bear to God. When we don't use it, the monsters of adversity transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of beasts. Love makes us god-like. By loving in adversity (and prosperity), we deify ourselves.

The Son of God did not transport and demonstrate pie-in-the-sky, head-in-the-clouds technology. He transported and demonstrated down-to-earth, practical technology. We can use it today, not just tomorrow, profitably. It is relevant to this world not just to the next.

Furthermore, the technology is platform agnostic. It works whether you are a Roman Catholic, other Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist, Saint, Sinner or something else. It is open source technology. It is catholic in the broadest sense of the word. No religion has a monopoly over it. Furthermore, no conditions need to be satisfied before it can be used.

People who are suffering need the technology that Jesus transported from heaven to earth and demonstrated for us. Will you tell them? Or will you let them suffer? Will you keep your mouth shut or will you preach the good news of great joy?

Our Failure to Piss Him Off

The evil we did to him ought to have, at the very least, pissed him off. It ought to have antagonized him. It ought to have earned us a place on his shit list. It ought to have provoked his natural instinct for justice. It ought to have triggered his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution (Romans 12:19). It ought to have transformed him into our enemy - into a misanthropic monster - into the God who hates us. It ought to have shifted God from the pro-human team to the anti-human team with the serpent and his minions. When the fuse is lit, the bomb ordinarily explodes. But, remarkably, it did not. The fuse worked but the bomb was a dud (Isaiah 55:8-9). We gave him good cause to repay us in kind, but he did not (Romans 12:19). The evil we did to him did not extinguish his love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go.  God let us get away with murder - with deicide. Such is the nature of God! Wow! Our God is a beneficent philanthropist not a misanthropic monster. We tried but failed to drain his heart of love for us. This is the good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed. 

The evil we did to him ought to have caused his love for us to fade as we tortured him and to die when we killed him. Surprisingly, it did not. His love for us survived the evil baptism into which we immersed him. He emerged still alive and still in love with us .

Different Stories Unfold on the Different Layers of Reality

Reality is not thin. It is thick. It is thick because it does not consist of a single layer. Multiple layers give reality its thickness. They form a stack.

Furthermore, different stories unfold on the different layers of reality. Each layer of reality is a substrate for a story.

In the Crucifixion are two layers of reality. There is a skin of reality and a subcutaneous layer of reality. To see the story that unfolded on the subcutaneous layer of reality, one must look through the bloody wounds as one would look though a telescope. By just looking at the bloody wounds we only see the story that unfolded on the skin of reality. To understand the Crucifixion in its fullness, one must look at the stories that unfolded on both layers of reality. Doing otherwise, distorts the meaning of the Crucifixion.

On the near side of his bloody wounds, we see his ignominious defeat. We see that we tortured and killed him. We see that he suffered and died.

On the far side of his bloody wounds, we see his glorious victory. We see that he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us.

That he emerged from the dead still alive is the proof that Jesus is God. Nobody emerges from the black hole of death. He did.

That he emerged from the dead still in love with us is the proof of a detail about divinity that is much more important to us than omnipotence. It proves that our conception of divinity as omnipotence is not quite accurate. It is the proof that God loves us.

There are two details that characterize Jesus

  1. He is omnipotent and
  2. He loves us.

He revealed these two details to us by emerging from the black hole of death still alive and still in love with us.

The failure of the evil we did to him to affect his love for us revealed to us the identity of our God.

Christianity tends to focus on the fact that he emerged alive from the black hole of death. Christianity tends to overlook the fact that he emerged from the black hole of death still in love with us. 

 

He Kept Not a Penny for Himself

To reveal the size of his love for us, he paid the cost of the revelation out of his own pocket. He paid the cost not from his unlimited divine resources. He paid the cost from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else.

His willingness to pay everything he owned for us tells us that there is nothing he would not do for our salvation.

The size of his love for us is proportional to the cost that he paid.

 

What type of literature is the word of God?

What type of literature is the word of God (John 1:1)?

The word of God is a love note.

The love note was delivered to us at Bethlehem.

At Calvary, the proof that the love note is genuine was put into our hands. If the love note were counterfeit, his love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But it did not. God's love for us survived the evil we did to him. Calvary is the proof that not even the evil we do to him can destroy his love for us.

His love for us is the sweetness of paradise. It  is the honey that lures the bees back home to the hive.

</p>